Home Forums General Forums Trek Preparation Kokoda Trail Trekking – The Dos And Don’ts

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    For most experienced trekkers ? Kokoda Trail trekking would not seem to be much of a hassle or threat at all, but as first timers on this famous 96 kilometer wartime trek there are several things that need to be taken into account before actually doing the trek.

    Yes, many have done some terrible mistakes while at the same time have also learnt of new things while out on the track. However, to make sure we don?t repeat the same mistakes or even to teach someone something new about Kokoda it is only fair that we share these experiences for the benefit of those who might want to do the trek

    After having walked the trek myself, I felt I should remind you about some dos and don?ts along this rugged and mountainous paradise. In doing so I have decided to drum-up some lists of what I would like to refer to as trekking recommendations


    Trekking Recommendations
    The following is general information to keep you aware of what to expect while out on Kokoda Trail. My aim is to ensure you have a safe journey and that you enjoy thoroughly your walk along the grueling track.

    Below is list of what I would like to recommend to any would-be ?trekker.
    The list includes:

    • Suggestions by trekkers ? (some of the suggestions came from the trekkers themselves)
    • Tips to an enjoyable trekking
    • How to avoid possible disasters
    • Commonly asked questions on trek and the likely answers
    • Why you must never ever do the trek alone
    • Training ? an essential part of the trek
    • A guide to female trekker

    Some suggestions

    • Playing Cards – to avoid being bored on the first day especially when you are doing a nine-day trek, I suggest you bring playing cards with you.
    • A Reading Book – not a thick novel just something to keep you occupied if you don't have anything much to do on the way. Plus it helps ease the mind if you are feeling stressed.
    • A small note book – If you wish to keep track of the events happening on the way. It's exciting to look back on what happened when you were walking the track.
    • A portable stereo – If you are music lover? bring a long your favorite cassette, head phone and extra batteries. Sometimes it helps to reduce stress when listening to your favorite music. There are no FMs here only Shortwave frequency. As long as you are aware of your surroundings, you will find that music has never sounded so beautiful than when out in the wilderness. I suggest you only listen to your stereo when you have stopped walking and not while walking – full concentration is required along some parts of the trail.

    While these may not apply to everyone it may prove useful to take your mind away from the stressed experienced along the track. Of course you cannot take everything at all at once, only what you think is necessary.


    Tips to an enjoyable trekking

    For a most enjoyable trekking along Kokoda it is best to bring along a friend or someone whom you know will never run out of stories, fun, laughter and even energy. Our trekking was probably one of the most enjoyable one (not to mention the fact that we had in our group someone who didn't know when to stop talking). I think we had the most laughs than anyone else out on the track. (My trek mates would agree with me).

    When you have more chats along the way it helps bring your closer to where you are going than when you don't chat at all because half the time you will be wondering whenyou suppose to reach the next camping area and that makes it even more tiring for you.

    How to avoid possible disasters


    While on the track you should avoid possible danger at all times. Never wander far away, or out of sight of your trek mates and the porters and guide. If you are trying to see some of the old war wrecks or relics it's best to ask a guide to accompany you.

    Most animals you'd expect to see on the grounds like pythons, wild pigs and etc, don't live close to where the trail is, you can run into wild pigs when you walk into the big bush but SOMETIMES wild pigs can run into you. That has happen once and we don't want that to happen again.

    Also when you are camping in the bush for the night NEVER leave you pack outside especially when you know you have snacks in there. Someone else – a bush rat might ransack your pack.


    Don't touch anything or avoid contact with things you are not familiar with especially certain leaves along the road. There are leaves that stings and I tell you it is not really nice when you come into contact with it.


    As first timers, on a track like Kokoda you need to take your time, one step at a time as you go along.

    When descending very steep hills, don't strain your legs to much. If your have firm grip there is no problem. Sometimes if you move too slowly you can strain you knee therefore you're likely to face serious knee problems. Pain killers (tablets) and a bandage to tie around your knee are okay – I had the problem and these were my likely solutions.

    When it is wet and Slippery – please avoid stepping on rocks along the way. If you have balance that is not a problem. Wearing your pair of trekking shoes helps you walk easily when it's slippery only if you have a good grip. I think most of the falls we have was by stepping on rocks. The same applies when you are crossing a creek. Avoid stepping on many rocks as possible. Rocks have very smooth surface and one can slip easily.

    As mentioned earlier, walking the track can be a lot easier and fun if you crack a few jokes on the way.

    Of course there are some places where you are not expected to talk or laugh and that is when you go upwards. It doesn't mean you have to talk all the way but only at some interval just to ease your mind. You will find it easier to conquer some mountains and toughest paths along the track

    The reason why I am saying these is because there are times in which you have to walk and the walk would seem to have no end to it and you might just be wondering when you will finally reached the next camp site. If you do it would be wiser not to ask

    These are just some of the recommendations that may need to ensure you successfully complete your trip.

    Please stick around as I have yet lists of suggestions and somethings on what I would like to recommend to you.


    Commonly asked questions and the likely answers

    Questions like how far is it (from one point to another)? Are we getting any closer (if you give up and you think you cannot walk anymore!) Is it going to be easy or how many more mountains? (that is if you thought you had enough of climbing mountains). For such questions expect to get untrue or false answers. Of course the guides and the trekkers would not want to discourage you by giving true information.

    It is wiser to look through your map and study the route. Only then you will have a fair idea of what is ahead of you.


    Fitness Levels – essential part for trek preparations

    Has anybody ever walk Kokoda Trail without actually going through some training beforehand and didn't face any difficulties along the way? For an ordinary person I dont think so. You have to go through some fitness levels beforehand to trek this old war route.

    I am more than happy to give you my thoughts on the type of fitness I think it's required to do the Kokoda Trail.

    I have trekked Kokoda myself and I must say it is VERY IMPORTANT that you go through some fitness level in order to tackle this old war path. I have done so myself and am willing to recommend this to you or anyone who might be interested in doing the trek.

    This is not just a leisurely stroll through the bush we are talking about…this is very steep, rugged and mountainous path – that if to endure needs training beforehand.

    These are some of the suggestions of the types of fitness required:

    Bike exercise – This is important if you want to build up the muscles below and above your knee plus it make you get used to strains on the legs.
    Do that each day in the mornings and afternoons. Try paddling non-stop for 5-10 minutes until you get used to it.

    Jogging/Running and Walking – This is not a difficult training and I think most people would fall into this category. It is good walking, jogging or even running long distances everyday just so your legs can get used to it. Of course stretches are important after after or before each training.

    Pre-Hiking – You can even go hiking on hilly areas inorder to test your confidence and maybe get you prepared for the first climb. A lot of people panic on the first or second day especially when without training.

    I suggest you get into some serious training now so when time for trekking comes you are already in a fit form! I was the only lady in the group and most of the porters thought I'd give them a hard time – it turned out I proved them wrong – I endured Kokoda and I attribute that to prior training!

    I am telling you if you can endure this type of training, you can endure the mighty Kokoda Trail, that's for sure!


    Re: Energy, Stamina, Concentration and Disease Protection while trekking…. Hi, I had climbed part of the track back in the early 70's while in the PNGVR (PNG Army Reserves). While I was fit and young, the track was really hard going and my energy and stamina levels were sapped fast, and could not recover fully using European tucker. Native Food is Organically grown and has 90% more nutrition than ours, as well as ample fibre. While HOVOI from Kerema people works great for energy and stamina and disease protection, it is bulky to carry. The Americans have brought out a lightweight sachet form with herbs that is made with other Asian and S American herbs, that you just mix with clean drinking water in a 500ml bottle. – And a month's supply (30 sachets) costs only $60 retail, but you can be invited to join and buy it wholesale! I have a few contacts – SO – Give me a HOY at rkoomans@yahoo.com or +61-405161778 (sms ur email address if no answer while I am driving.)
    Having best nutrition is of utmost importance anywhere in PNG – but especially on the Kokoda and Bulldog tracks, or anywhere stamina and energy is as important as high presence of mind and immune system boosting.


    We would like to introduce our new Training Website Fit 4 Treks. http://www.fit4treks.com.au/

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    Fit4Treks has been designed exclusively for Kokoda Trekking clients, to equip your body with the strength and stamina you'll need. A self-training program, it gives you the utilities and you manage it yourself or with the help of your personal trainer.

    Fit4Treks is the only training program of its kind!

    No other Kokoda Trail organisation offers a fitness program with the tools to prepare clients for their trek. As a valued client of Kokoda Trekking, whether you are about to embark on your first ever trek or you've been there, done that before, there's no doubting you'll benefit hugely from Fit4Treks.

    Improving your cardiovascular fitness and increasing your muscular strength will help you to cope better with the demands of extreme hill walking, and you'll also protect your body more effectively against injury.

    You don't even have to be a member of a gym to train with Fit4Treks as we've designed it to include programs and exercises you can do in or out of the gym.
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